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The road to finding who you are and coping + Questions!

Discussion in 'Strategies for Success' started by Citizen Insane, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. Citizen Insane

    Citizen Insane Staff Member Safety & Support SF Author SF Supporter

    Hello all :) ,

    I have tried to put some thought into this. It was at first going to be a topic about fighting stigma, but maybe that's for another day. This is a topic/issue that comes up when we are suffering in life and how to look beyond that.
    A sort of long introduction first, with a personal story; I'll ask questions at the end of it.

    A member of this site, who passed away recently and I have deep respect for, said to me in a conversation something like this: "Yes, it's just being there in the world, feeling comfortable and vitally engaged in life." The member was describing what life was like before they got their disorder. But they were at peace with who they were and not obsess and ruminate about feelings they could not change.

    I did not find that comfort I was looking for anywhere for, what I consider, a long period of time. Still ongoing... I did decide to live a life, that's not worth living to anyone else I know, has no rewards in the form of good feelings, but a life that holds a much greater value to me than it did before.
    You could almost say I am glad I got my disorder. Nobody would believe me. But to value an experience I have, to be my dreams once again. I am glad, because I would not have chosen a path otherwise that would have led to finding out who I truly am.

    To quote the artist of an album I feel like I have a real deep emotional connection with: "Looking inward and finding who you really are. It is also about how you may have grown into a completely different person than you ever would have thought (for better or worse). Some of us never change, but I think I have changed a great deal."

    A few years ago, while I was in the middle of the grieving stage of my disorder, I had to let go of an idea. That idea was: All my previous ideas on how to cope with negatively perceived emotions, situations, events, thoughts and so on... stopped working in the regular way.
    When I was young and had not faced a mental disorder yet in life during that time, I made the connection in my brain that... If I wanted a certain "positive" feeling, while I was feeling bad, all I had to do was use my willpower and bend the thoughts and feelings until I felt okay again.

    When I was a child, it made so much sense to me. Later I discarded those old connections. However to deal with discomfort in a certain stage of my illness, I ended up talking to Joe & Jane Public at first, people I did know already in life, but people that weren't able to reduce my mental anguish. You could guess how that went. That's how weird communication is to me. Communication with someone who doesn't know anything about what you're going through in your mind and life.
    It's because I did not recognize that I had changed, that I became a different entity of sorts. The Joes and Janes just speak out a-less-than-10-word-sentence on what they think is best for you to feel better, and the person who is feeling bad ends up almost having to explain his/her entire life to prove them wrong. Just to convince the other party that a problem like depersonalization or depression etc is real, that you feel beyond horrible and are looking for answers.
    It could end up feeling like a fight not worth fighting. Not a single answer ends up being the right one.

    In the now, I am using very different coping methods to deal with it all. The amount of thinking and time I had to invest, to understand myself better and to learn how to cope, has been enormous.
    I'm glad that despite what happened, I'm still able to be myself.


    (1): How have you tried to change the way you felt in the early stages of your diagnosis? What were the coping methods you used and did any of them work? - Asking this mostly for myself because I would like to be able to support people I meet on the forum and elsewhere who are dealing with suffering without the people knowing why they suffer specifically. But I am also interested in your answers. :)

    (2): Present day, how have you yourself moved past certain old ideas that you now have discarded and have you made any realizations about your own life? Ideas that could be about yourself, the inner workings of your mind, and maybe general ideas about people you know that may have changed?

    (3): Last set of questions for now: All in all, it affects all areas of your life. Rather than say, it affects everything in a negative way, there are also different types of changes you yourself might not be aware of yet.
    What parts of the areas that your diagnosis had a heavy impact on, were you able to accept? (It's a question about the grieving process) In what areas were you still able to learn new skills in and gain experience in the process? Did you meet any interesting new people perhaps by interests/hobbies that may have shifted?
    To end: Did you find yourself practicing a hobby that you would not have otherwise, if it weren't for your diagnosis?
  2. Citizen Insane

    Citizen Insane Staff Member Safety & Support SF Author SF Supporter

    I might have forgotten to mention it clearly. The questions presented are meant for you guys & gals! Feel free to answer it here in this thread. :)

    I'm aware that the way my questions are formulated, it may sound quite optimistic. The purpose of it is not: "To feel good about all the times you suffered." It's more a way of placing the feelings you experienced in a different light, give it a different colour.
    Despite have experienced deep feelings of discomfort and I still do from time to time, I feel that it is bearable now. It has even become predictable to me now, how I will feel in most given daily situations and even other big negative events.
    To the point of where, if the situation requires me to cope with a certain feeling, I wish to able to do it just like taking another step forward during a walk or breathing in & out.

    I did not take any of these questions out of any book I read, it's mostly variations of existing ideas on self-reflection, for example: "How have I tried to get rid of my depression?" My question (1) reflects on that.
    I too will think about the questions I asked, try to answer them myself and expand on the coping side of things a bit more.
  3. stargazing

    stargazing Well-Known Member

    I might add some things later but this is it for now.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2015
  4. Citizen Insane

    Citizen Insane Staff Member Safety & Support SF Author SF Supporter

    Hey Stargazing, thank you so much for the reply! :)

    Reading about the visualization techniques you use inspires me greatly. I know for myself that I used to have a strong positive imagination and visualizing in general is very powerful. I will train myself to do that once again.
    Visualizing helps feeling the connection with yourself (mind-body-soul connection), overcome fears and evoke some emotions that you wish to experience.
    Thanks again, stargazing. :)

    I'll answer the questions as well now.

    (1) Having felt deep emotional pain, because of the anxiety that went past the treshold, I will be honest here...
    I was not able to alter how I felt inside when I got the disorder at all in the early stages, thinking about how to solve or fighting the bad feelings seemed to make it worse. I was very confused and it seemed like I was fueling my own anxiety by thinking about my own suffering.
    However, I was able to endure so much. Perhaps I endured because I thought there was hope of things changing, but mainly the will to survive was so strong. The power to solve my own problems seemed to come from like an endless energy source.
    I still had the passion to live, despite there not being the good feelings for months. I am glad today still, that I had this fire inside of me. Would not be here otherwise I feel, I probably would be in a very dark place emotionally.

    (2) I had to convince myself that, to get better, the greater part of the effort had to come from deeply within, from myself. I went to groups for fellow sufferers and did psycho-education to come to such realizations.
    No single entity in the world is there for me to try and alter or interfere with. I had to realize this in the hardest way possible. I will not significantly change my environment, the nature, nor the people in it. Neither am I the change I want to see in people.
    However, I am able to live my life without causing too much interference for others. As long as I can be myself and my dreams until the day I end. It's just a philosophy I live by, that will change no doubt through the time that's coming.
    Sort of a minimalistic approach. Perhaps I lack the ambition society wants me to have, but I have different plans and desires.
    I love my family now more than ever, my mind tells me. And I agree with that...

    I will answer question (3) on a later moment, I am drained of my mental energy for now. :)
  5. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter


    (1): How have you tried to change the way you felt in the early stages of your diagnosis? What were the coping methods you used and did any of them work?

    Leaving the house is often a struggle for me so I make sure to get outside every day (I just did a few minutes ago) I don't allow myself to give myself excuses.
    Seeing a therapist allowed me to say things I wouldnt dream of saying to anyone else. Seeing a therapist allowed me to open up, cry, shout (yes she allowed that lol) it really did help a great bit in my recovery! Music is another thing that helped me greatly, pinks song ''fucking perfect'' always gave me a boost, it's a great song but has a triggering video. so trigger warning there.
    SF helped me a lot too in finding myself again, being who I am, i could be on here :) I was always accepted.
  6. Citizen Insane

    Citizen Insane Staff Member Safety & Support SF Author SF Supporter

    Yesterday, late in the evening... (this is about coping)

    I ended up buying a music album that I feel resonates deeply with my soul. It was music that I have always heard throughout my life, getting older as a person. From around 1995 till today in 2015. I have always either heard it on the radio or was actively looking it up (cd, internet) and playing it.
    If you guys really want to know... :p It's music from India. I grew up with that culture, so it will stay with me till the moment I end I hope. From movies, music to language and food, that culture is part of me.

    According to my father, we used to have an LP/vinyl player that I really liked to listen to. When I was a child (maybe 4, 5 years old), my dad told me, I used to always listen to one specific song over and over again on that LP/vinyl player. I guess that's how my love for music began. The song was from an older movie from India.

    About visualizing: I was able to match what I was watching on my tv screen and what I was visualizing in my mind. I gave a visible emotional reaction, during the activity. It takes a lot for me to be able to do that, being used to mostly feelings of anxiety and numbness, I was able to be emotional.
    You guys can probably guess what that emotion was.
    I looked up images and sounds from my youth, I was willing to experience whatever emotion may come over me while I was looking for as long as I could take it.
    To make a complete image and make sense of what I saw, I allowed myself to take my mask off to look what's underneath. My thoughts made sense to me again...

    I read in a book that "when we feel very overwhelmed or panicked due to depersonalization or other causes of distress, it may be useful to change the emotional scenery.
    Self-soothing involves engaging in activities that will calm you or redirect your focus onto things that have deep or spiritual meaning for you."

    To expand on this idea, this means more than pleasing your desires by ways of basic needs to survive (eating, drinking, sleeping etc). Now here are the coping methods described in the book:

    - "Watch a favorite or familiar movie."

    I added to this idea, that familiar music is very powerful as well in changing the internal chaos I experience in my body and mind. As I described earlier in this post.

    - "Pray, if you consider yourself religious or spiritual."

    - "Take a break" from a troubling issue or argument.

    - "Do something engrossing and enjoyable such as playing with your pet, knitting, woodworking, or even cleaning."

    - "Train yourself in a relaxation technique."

    And other techniques described in the book: 'Overcoming Depersonalization Disorder - a mindfulness & acceptance guide conquering feelings of numbness & unreality.' By Fugen Neziroglu, Katharine Donnelly.
  7. RandomL

    RandomL Member

    (1) I remember sitting in the admission area for a mental health hospital with my Mother. I turned over to her and said, "You know. I think I have borderline personality disorder." My reason for believing this was from a video I watched where a person explained what they had been going through. How they were diagnosed with BPD, and that they often experienced the feeling that others were trying to hurt them.

    From that alone; I based an assumption that I had the disorder. A week or so later I proved to be correct. I received a note of, "Borderline Personality Traits" as I couldn't be given a formal diagnosis at 17. During my second admission to the same hospital; I had been given the full diagnosis as an adult of 18. I spent a long time believing the diagnosis was just the tendency to have paranoid thoughts; but around six months ago I read into it a bit more. I was less than happy with the result.

    I had never realized how well my life correlated to the symptoms of the personality disorder. How I had very strong friendships with people around me; how I constantly felt like I was manipulating other people without malicious intent. It just seemed to happen without me being able to have any control over the events. Constantly acting impulsively. I believe I'm still on the road to coping with the disorder. Not a day goes by that I struggle with the fact that it may be with me for the rest of my life.

    In other words; I'm still trying to find ways to cope. Not too many things have worked for me.

    (3) I've been able to accept that I have strong bonds with the people around me. I consider it a bit more unique that I value the quality of my friends rather than the quantity. I always felt a bit different in that regard throughout highschool; how I typically only had enough friends that I could count with one hand through the course of a year.

    I've been able to accept that I may never be rid of the personality disorder. While I may become frustrated at the idea of being Borderline; a part of me is sated with the way I am. I'm hopeful that I will be able to treat certain areas of the disorder through something called DBT. Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I'm in touch with a Psychiatrist who has been helping me get in touch with a group that runs over the course of an entire year. It seems to be tailored to assist people with personality disorders such as Borderline.

    I hope that I didn't stray too far from the expectations of your questions. All the best.
  8. mismad

    mismad Active Member

    Hello Citizen Insane,
    In the past I ever I want to become like my brother, who is smarter and more attractive than me.
    I often assume that my family preferred my brother than me. Then I tried to change myself to behave like him, much things I copy from him.
    And one day I realized that I dont feel comfortable with this new self. I'm stressed :Cry:
  9. mismad

    mismad Active Member

    @Citizen I: Btw your character in profile picture I quite remember. I see that on attorney game, I forgot the game title.
  10. mismad

    mismad Active Member

    Question: " What were the coping methods you used and did any of them work? "

    One of the coping methods is reading this SuicideForum, now i find it was usefull.
    I found that I wasn't the only one who are crazy enough to think about ending this life. :yield:
    In this SF I found people that going trough the same feeling as I am, and it was a relief. You're not alone :butterfly7:.
  11. Citizen Insane

    Citizen Insane Staff Member Safety & Support SF Author SF Supporter

    Hey guys, I couldn't find the energy to write for this thread the past week. But I'm here now. :D

    By the way, reading books with ambient music in the background is so amazing. I find myself visualizing the words as I read them more vividly. Also helps that it's a very good thriller/horror book. :p I am still in the world of that book I feel at the moment, I was reading for a good hour or so.

    Heya Mismad, indeed we are not alone in this battle... Even though there's this saying: "Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone." :p That only holds true if you don't express the emotional pain and psychological discomfort you are suffering from. If you do express it, then you'll find fellow people who have the same type of experience. And that's why I like this SF forum.
    I feel I should do that more. Not bottling up my feelings and ideas each day, just expressing them instead and find myself thinking differently about it. I do need to take of my 'mask' that I wear when I'm outside the house. I need to be able to be myself I feel, with all the good, bad and neutral attributes, within the boundaries.

    I'll answer one of the questions of (3) now.

    Q: Did you find yourself practicing a hobby that you would not have otherwise, if it weren't for your diagnosis?

    I did so very much. It's not just hobbies, but it's also taste in music/movies and other forms of entertainment. I'm glad that I am on this side of the spectrum of music for example. I have a pretty specific taste now. There's so much to discover and to experience, as I wrote in another thread (My Music Collection - The Coffee House).
    Electronic music I started getting into right during and after my disorder first happened. I will do guitar lessons and I enjoy reading books now more than ever before in my lifetime. If I ever become isolated, as least I have my books and music that will be my world to me. ;)

    Also, I go to a card game local tournament called: Yu-gi-oh! :p I'm pretty sure I would not have done that if it weren't for my disorder. I just became more of a person I felt, I really like the social aspect of that card game.
  12. mismad

    mismad Active Member

    I have the same hobby with u @Citizen I.
    I love listening into music, and reading books :D

    Wow you got to Yu-Gi-Oh tournament. Do you love collecting Yu-Gi-Oh cards?
  13. Citizen Insane

    Citizen Insane Staff Member Safety & Support SF Author SF Supporter


    I take breaks now and then from Yu-gi-oh, but I go there mostly for the people... most of them I consider to be my friends by now. :-o

    Not really collecting cards, but just trading/selling/buying at times for latest cards from new sets. The game can be tiring, because sometimes we're playing for many many hours in a row till the evening.

    But it gives me so much joy! :p
  14. mismad

    mismad Active Member

    Yeah, from playing game can make more friends :D
    Tiring, but fun :p When play game sometimes I forget that time had flown
  15. Innocent Forever

    Innocent Forever Go as long as you can. And then take another step. Chat Pro SF Supporter

    I wouldn't say I've discarded. For I live with the beliefs I have.
    I've learned - am slowly learning - what some of the beliefs I hold are. Such as that I'm guilty for existing, for being. Knowing what I believe and realizing how it affects my life, helps me to make choices that aren't because of those beliefs. Act differently to what I want to do.
    I've also learned that I don't need to fight. That fighting gets me nowhere.
    And I'm still learning how I act in relationships. I haven't changed them yet, for I can't change the way I act - yet - but I can be aware of it. And some of the time I hate what I realize, but if I didn't know it, I couldn't change it.
    I can't say I've moved past anything, but I'm slowly learning different things, and learning that I am okay regardless of anything that goes on around me or that I may do. That unless I end up succeeding in killing myself (so wouldn't be here) I'll always be okay.
    Citizen Insane likes this.